Over the last century, a large body of literature emerged on mechanisms driving speciation. Most of the research into these questions focussed on terrestrial systems, while research in marine systems lagged behind. Here, we review the population genetic mechanisms and geographic context of 33 potential cases of speciation with gene flow in the marine realm, using six criteria inferred from theoretical models of speciation. Speciation with gene flow occurs in a wide range of marine taxa. Single traits, which induce assortative mating and are subjected to disruptive selection, such as differences in host-associations in invertebrates or colour pattern in tropical fish, are potentially responsible for a decrease in gene flow and may be driving divergence in the majority of cases. However, much remains unknown, and with the current knowledge, the frequency of ecological speciation with gene flow in marine systems remains difficult to estimate. Standardized, generally applicable statistical methods, explicitly testing different hypotheses of speciation, are, going forward, required to confidently infer speciation with gene flow.